A Geneva woman, who pleaded guilty to felony aggravated driving under the influence in a fatal crash, was sentenced this week in Livingston County Court to four years of probation and 1,000 hours of community service.
Jennifer L. Findahl, 21, of the 3100 block of Husking Peg Lane, had faced three to 14 years in prison for the crash that killed Eweart "Daine" Rice-Picasso of St. Charles in a head-on crash with a semi-truck on Sept. 16, 2017.
Findahl had been charged with three counts of felony aggravated driving under the influence of drugs – marijuana and alprazolam were found in her blood – the combination of which made her “incapable of driving safely,” according to the charging documents.
She had also been charged with reckless homicide, according to the charging documents.
Findahl drove the wrong way on an I-55 exit ramp near mile marker 192 when she hit a semitrailer truck, killing Rice-Picasso, 18, who had graduated from Geneva High School that same year.
Findahl waived her right to a trial and filed an open plea of guilty on Dec. 26, 2019, Livingston County court records show. An open plea means she admitted her guilt without benefit of an agreement.
The other two felony aggravated driving under the influence charges and the reckless homicide charges were all dismissed in light of her guilty plea, as was a traffic charge for driving the wrong way on a one-way street, records show.
The court found “extraordinary circumstances exist” in Findahl’s sentence, records show, in sentencing her to probation instead of prison.
Livingston County State's Attorney Randy Yedinak did not return a voice mail message or email seeking comment.
Findahl’s attorney declined to comment.
Findahl still faces a wrongful death lawsuit filed in Kane County by Rice-Picasso’s survivors; and a lawsuit filed by Geneva resident Jacob Keen, a passenger who was injured in the crash.
Both lawsuits seek more than $50,000 in damages.
The two cases have been consolidated and are scheduled for a status hearing on Sept. 17.